I have been a long time supporter of GAIA and finally had the opportunity to travel to Malawi with a couple of their doctors last year. Their work on the ground is impressive as is their local leadership. Exemplary human beings doing exemplary work.
I have been both a large donor and committed volunteer to GAIA for over 10 years. I began with GAIA because of my long time acquaintance with the CEO, Bill Rankin. I deeply trusted whatever Bill was leading while embracing his devoted and genuine compassion for the children and families of Malawi. Since my initial involvement with GAIA, I have visited the country and it's programs there and have worked on each yearly fundraiser to raise awareness and financial support for GAIA. My passion for these families and the issues of Malaria, HIV and AIDS which permeate their lives every day have continued to ground me and inspire me toward building a better quality of life for these people. I am additionally a donor because I know where every dollar I give to this organization is spent so my confidence that the lives of those children will be enhanced with every dollar I spend is profoundly confirmed. I am honored to be a volunteer and donor to GAIA.
Having met the founders and looked at this organization's achievements, I believe in this organization and it's mission: The Global AIDS Interfaith Alliance (GAIA) delivers HIV-related and basic health services to rural villages and health facilities in Africa. This non-profit, non-governmental 501(c)(3) organization was founded in June 2000 in response to the global HIV/AIDS epidemic. Currently, it is primarily focused on Malawi, a small country located in Sub-Saharan Africa at the epicenter of the global HIV/AIDS epidemic where 80,000 people die of AIDS-related illnesses each year and over 550,000 children have been orphaned. Through establishing partnerships with local communities, GAIA delivers a variety of life-saving services to people in need with a particular emphasis on women and children. The organization's approach to preventing and treating HIV involves strengthening healthcare institutions, improving the delivery of healthcare services, and working closely with communities to empower local people, particularly women, in the struggle against HIV. It has established relationships with grass-roots, village-level entities and can therefore rely on the local village women to identify and address the needs of those living with AIDS and create local strategies to sustain their services. Also, GAIA is a major supporter of nursing training and education (including at the Nurse Practitioner level) in Malawi.
Review from Guidestar
This is an incredible org that does amazing, inspiring work in Malawi, one of the poorest countries in the world. Plain and simple: GAIA save lives, empowers people, especially women, to help one another and do it with very low overhead. Every dollar contributed makes a huge difference. They pay for women to become nurses, who then commit to remain one year in the country for every year educated. They train caregivers, generally women, who go into the remote countryside and provide care to people with HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases. They are working to lower the incidence of maternal-child deaths and improve healthcare to all. Microloans are provided to help people become self-sufficient.
Delivers vital health care/HIV-Aids services and education in country. Focused and effective in fulfilling its mission. Efficient and caring at all levels of the organization. A clear vision.
After hearing Bill Rankin, President of GAIA, talk about their work, I was hooked on their mission and wanted to help them in any way I could. I've been a donor for 6 years. I had the privilege of going to Malawi for three weeks and seeing the impact GAIA has had in peoples' lives - which is absolutely extraordinary. My wife and I donate time and/or money to about 30 non-profits each year. there is none more worthy than GAIA.
This organization was founded in 2000 in an effort to prevent Mother to Child transmission of HIV in resource poor countries. Since that time GAIA has focused on efforts to combat HIV/AIDS in Malawi, a small sub-Saharan country which is one of the poorest on the planet. In 2005 the GDP for a Malawian was 170 dollars per year meaning that most Malawians live on less than 1 dollar a day. There are approximately 1000000 orphans in Malawi and 13 million people. They are particularly hard hit by the loss of medical workers: there are 1.6 doctors in Malawi per 100000 population. (in the US there are 250 doctors per 100000). As a physician trained to treat people with HIV/AIDS in the Bronx, I became interested in the efforts of GAIA to combat this disease in a country where the fastest growing industry in recent times was coffin building. I became a board member in 2008 and have traveled to Malawi 5 times over the past 5 years. GAIA is a small organization with a huge heart! We focus on most of the Millenium Development Goals in our work in Malawi. Our projects are grass roots, work with groups of all faiths and aim to eradicate poverty, support the education of all children, empower women and rebuild the medical work force in this country. We work village by village, selecting the 5 most influential women in a village to become volunteers with a stipend to assess the needs of the village orphans and AIDS victims. The village becomes self sufficient within three years or less. We support the training of nurses in Malawi and currently have several dozen nurse graduates working throughout the country. We support orphanages for infants, education for teens and young adults, palliative care centers, Aids Support Organizations and youth safe havens. The spirit of the Malawi people is incredible and the country seems finally to be getting on its feet. Please see our website at www.thegaia.org for more information. You will not regret ever being involved in this organization.